Volvo Cars North America settled claims for $1.5 million in U.S. fines that alleged that they failed to report safety defects in a timely manner in seven recall campaigns, dating back to 2010.
Volvo apologized for the delays and agreed to work at improving its recall procedures, stating that people should take into consideration the fact that there were no injuries or crashes linked to any of these recalls.
Chinese manufacturer Zhejiang Geely bought the Swedish automaker Volvo from Ford Motor Co. in August 2010 for $1.8 billion. Geely emphasized that Volvo is known for building safe vehicles, and they are worried that this fine may be a blow to the company’s reputation. In fact, three of these recalls occurred before Geely fully acquired Volvo from Ford.
Volvo released a statement that said that their “dedication to quality and consumer safety is paramount. After several conversations with the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) about its reporting rules, Volvo Car Corp. has taken steps to improve the review process and analysis of potential quality and safety issues with our vehicles.”
Although they agreed to pay the fine, Volvo denies any wrongdoing, but decided to settle “in order to avoid a protracted dispute and possible litigation,” which potentially could have diminished their reputation more than this negative publicity already has.
“We are in agreement with the NHTSA’s objective to communicate with the agency and consumers in a timely manner. It is important to note that, in each of the subject cases, a voluntary recall had been conducted and no injuries, fatalities or property damage claims were reported. We apologize for this delay and will continue to uphold this deep-rooted value and work in a manner that maintains the public’s trust.”
The NHTSA began this investigation in December 2010, when it began a review of a Volvo recall of nearly 10,000 2010 S80, V70, XC70, and 2011 S80, XC60, and XC70 vehicles which were recalled for faulty airbags.
Volvo told the NHTSA in May 2010 that this issue was “potentially critical,” as one would imagine any airbag issue would be, and as a result, they decided to issue a technical service bulletin to dealers, which was updated in August. However, Volvo did not act on this bulletin, and no cars were recalled until October.
The issue arises in Volvo’s delayed response in the recall, as federal law requires all automobile manufacturers to notify the NHTSA within five business days of determining that a safety defect exists or that the manufacturer is not in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards, and to promptly conduct a recall.
This recall involved roughly 31,000 vehicles, where the wire harnesses under the front seats may not have been attached properly. Because of this defect, when the seats are moved, the wire may become disconnected, which may deactivate the deployment of the airbags, or possibly lead to improper deployment.
If you own one of the Volvo makes and models listed in this article, we suggest you contact your Volvo dealer to make sure your vehicle is functioning properly. For more information, contact one of our lawyers at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).